Monthly Archives: December 2017

Singing with the King @ Christmas (6)

Christmas Star

Surely He Hath Born Our Griefs

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows!
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.

Yesterday we talked about this Advent being a celebration of the coming of our Deliverer and Savior. There is no greater Old Testament passage to explain the redemptive work of Jesus our Messiah than Isaiah 53. In verses 4 and 5 we learn there are six substitutionary acts accomplished by the Christ for us; four of mercy (taking our punishment so as to not get what we do deserve); and two of grace (taking our punishment so as to get what we do not deserve). They are:

  1. Surely he hath borne our griefs
  2. Carried our sorrows
  3. He was wounded for our transgressions
  4. He was bruised for our iniquities
  5. The chastisement of our peace was upon him
  6. With his stripes we are healed

When Mr. Handel wrote Messiah, he put this Chorus (24) in what is typically considered the Easter portion of his Oratorio. But since the very name of Jesus means “The LORD is salvation”, and will save His people from their sins, it is most appropriate to know and worship the Holy Child as not only our King, but our Savior.

Save

Singing with the King @ Christmas (5)

Christmas Star

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:31-33)

It had been about 400 hundred years since Israel had heard from the Lord, and within six months, the angel Gabriel came down twice to speak of Messiah’s birth. When Mary heard the above words from him, it’s easy to skip to the part about kings and thrones and forever. (Don’t we do the same… get to the good part and skip over the hard stuff?) But the first thing Gabriel told Mary was to name Him Jesus; and we learn from another angelic vision that the Child will live up to His name: for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21).

Mr. Wesley got it right, for the first line of the above verse is: Born Thy people to deliver. The advent we celebrate is for the One Who will deliver us from our sins. The advent we expect is when He will rule as King of kings and Lord of Lords forever.

 

Singing with the King @ Christmas (4)

Christmas Star

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the shadows clear away.

When the author of the hymn came to this verse he must have had Isaiah 9:2 on his mind: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. And as he composed this verse, he visualized the host of heaven in a vanguard invading the earth, and leading the Son of God to His incarnation in a glorious, dazzling, and blinding display. All who worshiped the darkness were put on notice, the light of the world had come into the world.

And the light is still here, which is why the shadows are being cleared away and the powers of hell will vanish: You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Singing with the King @ Christmas (3)

Christmas Star

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive
Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O
Israel.

Emmanuel: God with us. This was not a new concept, for Israel knew and saw on numerous occasions that God was “with” them:

You with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt, and you will say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews has met with us.” (Exodus 3:18, 5:3)

Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us. ( 1 Kings 8:56-57)

Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. (2 Chronicles 32:7-8)

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. (Psalm 46:7)

Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; state a proposal, but it will not stand, for God is with us. (Isaiah 8:10)

But Emmanuel being with us is different:

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:  He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

Spirit took on flesh; and the Presence became a Person.

Singing with the King @ Christmas (2)

Christmas Star

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Charles Wesley penned these words in the early 1700’s. And this hymn is rife with inspiration and insight.

The 1st line tells us who delivers this great message: the angels.                                           The 2nd line reveals Who is the content: the Christ child.                                                       The 3rd line shows results of this miraculous birth: peace and mercy incarnate came to earth.                                                                                                                                             But the 4th line exclaims what has happened; that which mankind has been incapable of doing, and centuries of sacrifices could not accomplish: God and sinners were reconciled.

Reconciliation literally means “according to change”. The situation between God and man had to be changed; both parties who were at enmity with one another, needed to be reconciled.

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. (Colossians 1:21-22)

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10)

On that angel-filled night, we became witnesses to the first step of this reconciliation: The Son had come in the flesh, to earth!

Don’t miss what the Apostle Paul and Wesley were saying about our condition: we were sinners and we were enemies. But now, we are reconciled.

Our reconciliation, our salvation, became incarnate; that’s why He was named Jesus; “For He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

When you ponder His birth, may you recognize your salvation.